Posts Tagged ‘Saint Cloud’

It isn’t like Katie Crutchfield to slow down. For the past 15 years, the 31-year-old artist has been a member of four different bands, starting with the Ackleys when she was still in high school. The moment one project ended, Crutchfield always seemed hard at work beginning a new one, churning out an endless quality of music with bands like Bad Banana, P.S. Eliot, and Great Thunder.

In 2017, Waxahatchee’s Katie Crutchfeld quite literally blew the music world away. Her record Out in the Storm, one of the best albums of that year, displayed a whole new side of the singer. Gone were the fortified bedroom pop of 2015’s Ivy Tripp, the rock-tinged freak-folk musings of her 2013 stunner Cerulean Salt and the brainy lo-fi recordings of her 2012 debut American Weekend. Out in the Storm sounds like its title suggests: loud, windy, chaotic and emotionally intense—a tried-and-true breakup album and a throwback to Crutchfield’s punk roots. While she was already beloved among indie circles, that release took her to the next level—new fans, considerable press buzz, a massive tour starring her and her twin sister Allison.

But 2018 was different. Crutchfield had spent years trying to quit drinking, but after a raucous European tour with Waxahatchee, she decided to commit to the decision. “I was telling everyone around me, ‘I’m just gonna take a break,’” she says “Then in my head, I was like, ‘I am done.’”. “For a while, I completely didn’t recognize myself,” she continues. “When you’re in kind of a bad way on tour, there’s just nothing worse than going on stage.”

The decision was part of a larger plan to slow down in general. Where she used to rush to process her feelings through songwriting, Crutchfield now found herself pausing to take care of herself first, to use therapy to work through her emotions before considering them as material for her songs.

 

Crutchfield’s fifth album as Waxahatchee, is the result of Crutchfield taking that time to breathe. It’s an album about seeking security in relationships, whether they’re romantic or platonic. Throughout, there’s a beautiful simplicity to Crutchfield’s writing. “When you see me, I’m honey on a spoon,” she sings on “Can’t Do Much,” a folky love song built on big, strummed guitar. There are also moments of self-doubt and weakness, the kind that cuts right to the big questions that hang over relationships like storm clouds. “We can try to let the stillness be,” she states cautiously on “The Eye,” “But if I spin off, will you rescue me?”

I feel like in the past I’ve been like, ‘You’re doing this and you’re doing that,’ like—pointing the finger,” Crutchfield says, jabbing the air. “At times, that’s been important and good for me to do. But with this record, I’m really pointing the finger at myself, and loving my people unconditionally.

In the past, the music Crutchfield made as Waxahatchee was defined by a kind of jagged quality—her soft vocals offsetting a crunchy, wall-of-sound indie rock (“chaotic and claustrophobic,” is how she describes her last full-length, Out in the Storm). But there’s a startling clarity on Saint Cloud, which traffics in a minimalist, Americana sound that makes Crutchfield’s voice sound naked in comparison to her previous work. “[My producer] Brad Cook was like, ‘We follow your voice,’” Crutchfield says. “He would help me build songs around the way that I was strumming, the way that I was singing. That was the first time a producer had done that. In the past people were either not paying attention or trying to shape it.”

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That clarity is also the sound of Crutchfield settling into a genre she admits, to some extent, she’s been fighting her whole career: country music. Growing up in Birmingham, Alabama, Crutchfield was raised on artists like Emmylou Harris and Loretta Lynn, and she emulated them as a child. But when she discovered punk as a teenager, she rejected country in a fit of textbook rebellion.

“I began to fight with those tendencies, and I think that resulted in some really cool music on my early records—fighting with my more traditional sounding voice or saccharine melodies,” she says. “But I’m kind of reaching this point where I’m like, no, this is a really big part of who I am. And it’s always been a part of the way I tell stories and the people who influenced my storytelling. It’s almost like this weird self-acceptance.” The way Dolly Parton wrote about frustrating relationships—what Crutchfield calls her “fun, jaunty” approach to them—influenced the song “Hell.” Borrowing some of Parton’s over-the-top intensity from songs like “Jolene,” Crutchfield sings: “I hover above like a deity, but you don’t worship me.” “I wanted to write a song that’s a little bit psycho,” Crutchfield says. “Everybody feels that way sometimes.”

Nostalgia for the music she grew up with soon became a kind of general nostalgia for the South. A Philadelphia resident for nearly eight years, Crutchfield decided she was going to move back to Alabama and buy a house. “Then I got to Birmingham and realized there were a million reasons why I left,” she says. She ended up settling in Kansas City after spending long stretches of time there with resident and boyfriend Kevin Morby. “I live such a relaxed life right now,” she says. “We have a sauna at our house,” she says, laughing.

Talking about Saint Cloud, it’s clear Crutchfield has completely retooled her relationship with music and touring. “In the past I’ve been a pusher, just kind of rushing and compromising a lot just to get it done,” she says. “I forced myself to slow down.”

Every time you make a record, you have a vision, but it’s a bit of a crapshoot how it’s actually going to turn out,” she says. “You just get on the bus and hope it gets you to your destination. And I’ve never hit the bullseye more than I did with this.”

Saint Cloud, Crutchfield’s fifth album under the Waxahatchee alias out Friday, March 27th on Merge Records

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Burnished by nostalgia, “Can’t Do Much” beams an easy warmth, and it’s the easygoing brand-new single from Waxahatchee. The track is taken from her upcoming album “Saint Cloud”, Katie Crutchfield’s  due out on March 27th, you can pre-order coke-bottle-clear-vinyl, black-vinyl and CD versions of it from Merge Records

WAXAHATCHEE (aka Katie Crutchfield) is gearing up to release her highly anticipated new album Saint Cloud, album out March 27th worldwide. Critics are already hailing Saint Cloud as a career-defining album with Crutchfield’s songwriting front and center.

Previously released songs like “Fire” and “Lilacs” have set the stage for what fans can expect from this release, and this week, Crutchfield has released another track and video for, “Can’t Do Much,” which she says is the first song she wrote for the album. Waxahatchee tells us, “It’s meant to be an extremely unsentimental love song, a love song with a strong dose of reality.”

From the album Saint Cloud, out March 27th on Merge Records

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Waxahatchee (aka Katie Crutchfield) has shared “Lilacs,” the latest single and video from her highly anticipated new album Saint Cloud, out March 27th worldwide. “Lilacs” received a Best New Track nod from Pitchfork who also announced Waxahatchee as part of their 2020 Pitchfork Festival line-up.

Of the song, Crutchfield says:

“Lilacs” was the last song I wrote for the record, and it’s mostly just about obsessive/negative thought patterns. It’s about backsliding into old behaviors that don’t serve you and sort of letting your worst self get the best of you. I think that when people are in that mindset, they can really try to turn the blame onto other people, so the song sort of plays out like a conflict you’d have with someone you love. It’s meant to capture that moment of heat that happens right when you realize you’re wrong or that your issue is more with yourself than with someone else—being flawed and fragile, but making progress inch by inch. The chorus serves as a sweet little resolve. I wanted it to feel like the light at the end of the tunnel and the reminder that it can always and often does get better.

Watch the previous glowing video for “Fire” which stars Katie and was co-directed by her and Andreina Byrne.

Saint Cloud is available for order on CD, standard LP in a single jacket, and coke bottle-clear Peak Vinyl housed in a gatefold jacket (both vinyl editions include a large full-color poster) in the Merge Records store,

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Not with a fizzle, but with a bang. Lyricist of Waxahatchee, Katie Crutchfield has taken this notion to heart with latest emotionally blazing track Fire. It is our first taste of her newest and fifth full-length album “Saint Cloud”, which will be released on the 27th of March via Merge Records.

Crutchfield’s inspiration is derived from her experiences and journey through life. This ties in well with the band’s name which was inspired by the Waxahatchee Creek, Crutchfield’s hometown in Alabama. Latest track ‘Fire’ captures the sun setting on the Mississippi River while Crutchfield drove from Memphis into West Memphis, AR.

The indie-folk track is a revisitation to stripped-back simplicity. Crutchfield perfectly describes it as a “personal pep talk”, as the album was written quickly following her choice to become sober. The vocals remain central throughout, with only a feather-light touching of keys, tapping drums and a shining strumming guitar. Crutchfield always has a knack for painting a picture with words, and her flair adds a sublime and luminous quality to the track. With lyrics such as “If I could love you unconditionally/ I could iron out the edges of the darkest sky”, and “It’s not as if we cry a river, call it rain/ West Memphis is on fire in the light of day.” Musically it’s a return to her roots such as her EP Great Thunder released in late 2018, and leaves any excessive instrumentals at the door.

From the album “Saint Cloud”, out March 27th on Merge Records

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With 2017’s Out In The Storm, Waxahatchee’s Katie Crutchfield topped herself yet again with a roaring collection of songs worthy of one of the best projects to come out of the last decade. She revisited some older songs for 2018’s lovely Great Thunder EP, and in March, Waxahatchee will release her fifth full-length album.

It’s called Saint Cloud, and Crutchfield wrote the songs after committing to getting sober. Naturally, Saint Cloud is a potent examination of the behavior that springs from addiction and what it can feel like to be truly in tune with yourself. Crutchfield recorded Saint Cloud at Sonic Ranch in Tornillo, TX, and Long Pond in Stuyvesant, NY, and it was produced by Brad Cook .

Its lead single, “Fire,” is about straddling between borders — physically, the border between Tennessee and Arkansas (as Crutchfield explains below) but also emotionally. It’s groovy and intricately layered and warm, unlike anything Crutchfield has put out with this project before. “If I could love you unconditionally, I– / Could iron out the edges of the darkest sky,” she sings. “For some of us, it ain’t enough.”

Crutchfield returns to that physical border in the video for “Fire.” Here’s her statement about the song:

The idea and melody for ‘Fire’ was dreamt up while driving over the Mississippi River from Memphis into West Memphis, AR, sun reflecting off the water which literally made West Memphis glow. The song’s written by me, to myself. It’s about the internal dialogue of shame surrounding mistakes you’ve made in the past and how we spiral and beat ourselves up when we slip. It’s meant to be a bit of a personal pep talk. If I can love myself unconditionally, then I can move through the world a little easier. If I can accept that I only have a partial view of the universe, and that I can’t know everything or control much of anything, then I can breathe a little easier, take better care of myself, and be closer to my own truth.